Meditation: What do grapes, thorns, figs, and thistles have to teach us about the kingdom of God? The imagery used by Jesus would have been very familiar to his audience. A certain thornbush had berries which resembled grapes. And a certain thistle had a flower, which at least from a distance, resembled the fig. Looks can fool us. How do you know when someone or something is genuine? Jesus' warning about false prophets and teachers applies today as well. What’s the test of a true or false teacher? Jesus connects soundness with good fruit. Something is sound when it is free from defect, decay, or disease and is healthy. Good fruit is the result of sound living — living according to moral truth and upright character. The prophet Isaiah warned against the dangers of falsehood: Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness (Isaiah 5:20). The fruits of falsehood produce an easy religion which takes the iron out of religion, the cross out of Christianity, and any teaching which eliminates the hard sayings of Jesus, and which push the judgments of God into the background and makes us think lightly of sin. How do we avoid falsehood? By being true — true to God, his word, and his grace. And that takes character! Those who are true to God know that their strength lies not in themselves but in God who supplies what we need. The fruit of a disciple is marked by faith, hope and love, justice, prudence, fortitude and temperance. Do you cultivate good fruit in your life and reject whatever produces bad fruit?
"Lord, may I bear good fruit for your sake. Help me to reject whatever will produce evil fruit. And help me grow in faith, hope, love, sound judgment, justice, courage, and self control."
This reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager, whose website is located at: http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/